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Interview: HauteLeMode

Interview: HauteLeMode

HauteLeMode is a fashion commentator and meme queen and makes the fashion industry and fashion brands digestible and understandable for every person.

HauteLeMode strips bare the sometimes ridiculous nature of luxury brands such as Givenchy, Louis Vuitton and Balenciaga and takes it to a new levels and breaks down red carpet looks from all your most hated and favourite celebrities. Here, interviewed by Samantha, you will get the inside scoop on how the new fashion voices are doing it.

HauteLeMode

Tell us a little about your platform and the work you do there. How would you personally describe it?

I run the platform HauteLeMode which gives updates on the luxury fashion industry, as well as reviews of fashion shows and collections, and “roasts’’ of red carpets. I started the Youtube channel in 2015 but didn’t start getting into the history of the fashion industry till 2016. So now the platform consists of an Instagram, Youtube, Twitter, and Tik Tok.

How do you use humour in your work? Why?

I use humour as a way to keep myself interested first and foremost. I’m originally from New York, as is most of my family, so a quick wit is something that you either inherit or grow very quickly, and I think that’s where a lot of my humor stems from. And I think I’ve tried to adapt that to my show reviews or red carpet roasts, which evidently has kept my audience interested as well. I personally think that when something like fashion is seen as pompous and unattainable, it’s easy to make fun of it, but being able to use that humor to make fun of it and also explain why it is the way it is, allows a wider understanding of the industry and fashion brands.

Though I understand you started on other social media platforms, you have now grown a considerable Youtube audience and a lot of your content work is through that platform. What is unique about fashion YouTube, as opposed to other fashion social media spaces (e.g. Twitter, Instagram)?

I think YouTube is such a tough space to break into when it comes to luxury fashion, especially if you are not doing tens of thousand dollars worth of hauls or showing off an immense closet. For the most part on Instagram, Twitter, Tik Tok, etc the attention span is usually quite short, look at a picture, watch a 15-60 second video, read 240 characters makes it easier to funnel quick content that isn’t required to be super in depth. I think for myself, I prefer to make something that keeps my audience entertained for a long time period. I don’t know if a person can actually explain the nuances of a fashion collection or 30+ look red carpet in a short amount of time. Instead of trying to rush through to make a quick joke or explain a fabric or historical reference, on Youtube I can do all three and never feel rushed to do so.

How do you think the landscape of fashion media is changing? Particularly with regards to the new generation of fashion media voices and platforms?

I think the landscape is becoming a lot more interested in actual clothing. Of course you have people that focus on models or celebrities, but I think the new voices want to understand garments, their meanings, their histories, their construction, and what they reflect of the wider world. I think when you look at the print publications, those were often the only way you were fed fashion information, and trade magazines were really expensive and only read by a select few. But now with social media, a fan of Billie Eilish can watch a TikTok about her Vogue cover and get some a tidbit of fashion information there, or a lover of art history can understand how Watteau inspired Vivienne Westwood on a Youtube video. The new fashion media players find their niche and use that as a gravitational pull for their audiences, so whether its fashion in a socio-political context, a history context, an ethical consumption context, etc there is something for anyone and everyone instead of a few sources of really mainstream fashion content.

How critical is humour in fashion media nowadays?

I don’t think it’s always necessary. I don’t think that you must include it in a review or a history essay on a subject of fashion, and there are lots of fashion media writers that don’t. So I guess I wouldn’t say it’s critical, but I think it is important in making a longer lasting impact. Oftentimes, you don’t want to sit through a lecture at school or work if it isn’t engaging, and humour is usually engaging. So if you want to be matter of fact and dry in your writing, I think you can be, I just think that your work will end up on a library or social media shelf, and will only be used for research purposes.

Fashion is notoriously elitist, including in the media realm – do you think the changing landscape of fashion media, including this general movement towards less serious and more humorous fashion media, has been a good thing for combatting this?

I think it has. I think fashion is always going to be elitist, it’s ingrained in the industry. If you’re a Rothschild or a Rockefeller, you’re always going to get a job because fashion likes to romanticize those names and statuses. But I think with the way fashion media has become democratized, anyone from anywhere can become a respected media entity no matter their background. The one thing you have to be is engaging. Whether it’s humor, having an encyclopedic knowledge of fashion, understanding the ins and outs of garment construction or textile development, etc there is always a way to engage a certain audience. With social media, the audience decides who they will watch and follow and enjoy, not a corporate hierarchy that values names, prestige, or money over actual talent.

Reflective question

  • Reflecting on the interview with HauteLeMode, what is your key takeaway?

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